Dressed for success

When a customer walks into your pizzeria, what are some of the fi rst things you want him to notice? Most of you will probably say that a clean interior, inviting aromas and a well-appointed staff are at the top of your list. You may have the fi rst two goals covered, but what about your staff? Do they alert customers that they are part of your team by wearing a hat, a branded shirt or a fully branded uniform? 

Some pizzeria operators may take a more casual approach and allow team members to wear whatever they like. But keep in mind the importance of branding your pizzeria, and how apparel works toward this goal: Not only will customers know which people in your pizzeria are there to help them, but uniformed employees will also be walking billboards when they are off the clock.

We decided to go straight to the source and ask some pizzeria operators what they thought about uniforms. Here’s what they said:

“The key advantage of requiring uniforms is maintaining a consistent brand image. A guest feels a degree of comfort when visiting different CiCi’s restaurants because the employees look familiar. Having team members in uniform allows guests to easy identify them and helps the brand maintain a consistent image. Employees have input into the design of their uniforms as well. In fact, this summer, new uniforms will be rolled out to the system largely based on feedback and input from our crew members and guests.

“Most franchisees provide the uniform for free and determine the number of uniform parts based on the number of days and the number of hours that each team member will work. Then franchisees monitor the wear and tear of the uniform parts and replace them as needed. The style of uniform that a team member wears varies based on his role; most team members wear a brand-designed T-shirt and hat along with dark pants. Team members may also wear a logoed polo shirt. Uniforms are an extension of the brand within the four walls and beyond. Uniforms drive awareness while employees are in transit to and from work and allow team members to promote the brand.”

       –Sara Hundley, director of marketing, CiCi’s Pizza (cicispizza.com), Coppell, TX

“I had aprons made with our stitched logo, and we keep those here at the shop. Each of the aprons have a button or something on them so everyone can distinguish whose is whose; because they are always left here, I take and wash them as needed.”

       –Integraoligist (via PMQ Think Tank)

“We require staff uniforms to promote uniformity and brand awareness. We pay for them and distribute them based on how many hours each staff member works. All employees wear khakis (pants or shorts) along with a black or white Donte’s T-shirt. The shirts are also given out to loyal customers and sold.

“Sometimes it’s hard to ensure that the uniforms are clean and wrinkle-free, but the employees don’t have to worry about what to wear, and the shirts are recognized out in the community and help to promote the pizzeria.”

       –Denise C. Marasco, vice president of marketing, Donte’s Pizzeria (dontespizzeria.com), South Park, PA

“Visibility at night is important for drivers. Including visible colors and reflective accents helps a lot. Appearing clean should be an important point for anyone who is seen by customers. Beige/white/light-color pants hide flour well; red shirts hide sauce stains. Choice of material is important for comfort, safety and durability. Cotton works well in hot kitchens. Polyester shirts are cheaper, but are uncomfortable in hot environments and are more dangerous around the extreme heat of ovens or open fl ames.”

       –Greg Maschok, driver, Papa John’s (papajohns.com), Chesapeake, VA

“My position is that if you are going to put a logo on it, pay for it. It’s your advertising, and it makes your store look good. Give a new employee a couple of new shirts; I would never give a used shirt to anybody. Most employees want to look good coming to work; have a talk with the ones who don’t know how to wash their clothes.

“Have giveaways: Buy 10 pizzas and get a T-shirt or hat free. Promote yourself. Think about where the customer will wear that free T-shirt or hat.”

       –qcfmike (via PMQ Think Tank)

Liz Barret is PMQ’s editor-in-chief.